Top Ten Tuesday

If I Wiped My Memory, 8 Books I Would Read Again for the First Time

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Have you ever finished a book and immediately started reading it over? But the second time around, there was something missing from the reading experience. Reading a book for the first time is magical, breathtaking, and encompassing. There is only one first time to all the books you read. You will never get that feeling of not knowing, unexpected surprise, or unadulterated wonder of that first time reading. The second time will be different, since you know what is going to happen, you’ve read it before.

It’s quite sad, really. There are many books I wish I could open and read for the first time again. So, today, I’m wiping my memory. I don’t remember reading these books, do you? Here’s a list of 8 magnificent books that I would read again for the first time:

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: The most obvious choice. I read Harry Potter for the first time a few months before the seventh book released. At first, I read them out of order since my library only had a copy of the sixth on hand. I started with the sixth then went back to the first, second, third and so on to the seventh. If my memory was wiped, I would most definitely start at the first one. Starting at the sixth, I have always liked that one more than all the others. However, starting from the beginning, I feel that my perspective may change. Also, having first read the books in middle school, I would be reading these books now as a twenty-something which would probably change some of my original thoughts. I’ve been following EmmaReadsTooMuch who was rereading the Harry Potter series and she has brought on several points that I don’t believe middle-school-me caught on to while reading so I definitely think Harry Potter would be first on my list to read again for the first time.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray: This list consists of some of my favorites that I would love to read it for the first time again. Going Bovine is one my all-time favorite books. Whenever I reread it, I try to mentally prepare for the cry-fest that I know is going to happen. Since I know it will happen by the end of the book, it takes away that initial surprise.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: This book is so gorgeous. Green is a fantastic writer and every time I reread this, I do notice new sentences I may have glanced over or had not paid enough attention too. However, just like with Going Bovine, knowing how the book ends really takes away something from the reading experience.

And I Darken by Kiersten White: I, recently, read And I Darken and I gave it two stars. I thought it a bit too-detailed and drowning in politics but I really wanted to enjoy it. If I wiped my memory and read this book again, I would try to be more open and take my time with it instead of pushing through it like I did. In the past, I enjoyed White’s other books so giving And I Darken another first read through may change my perspective on it.

Ophelia by Lisa Klein: Did you hear about the movie that is in the works? When I first read this, I loved every minute. Ophelia is the first book that sparked my love for Shakespeare. Ophelia is a retelling of Hamlet that gives readers a unique look of the play from Ophelia’s viewpoint. The wonderment of reading Ophelia for the first time is no longer there so if my memory is being wiped, I would be sure to pick this one up again.

Isolde, the Queen of the Western Isle by Rosalind Miles: Isolde, the Queen of the Western Isle is the book that made me a reader. It’s a story that I don’t think I’ve shared yet but of course, this book would be on my list. This book made me want to continue reading. It was the start of my book adventures. To return to my beginning as a reader would be incredible, if my memory was wiped clean, I wonder how I would feel about this book now?

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth: Unfortunately, I haven’t finished this trilogy yet. I still have Allegiant waiting for me on my shelf. Why? One word: spoilers. Why did people need to tell me how the series ends? I would have found out eventually. If I wiped my memory, the spoilers wouldn’t be a problem and I would probably finish the trilogy.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: It is difficult not to get caught up in Sasha Alsberg’s love for Outlander when you watch her videos.  After a few months of putting off reading them since the books are huge, I started watching the show with my cousin. Outlander, the show and the book, are addictive and amazing just like Sasha predicted. After finishing the first season, I knew I needed to read the book. I adored the book and was astounded at how close the book and show were. However, if my memory was wiped, I would hope to read the book before watching the show just so I could visualize the characters myself and experience what happens in the book without the scenes of the show interrupting me.

What book would you want to read for the first time again? Have you reread a book and it wasn’t as great as the first time?

book review

Thrills and Chills | Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: 7/22/14
Pages: 357
Source: publisher in exchange for honest review

What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.

Seven people entered an essay contest for the chance to win a behind-the-scenes look at Justin Blake’s new horror film. Die-hard fans, film fanatics, and wannabe actresses were among the people who entered. Seven people won a once in a lifetime opportunity. Justin Blake is best-known for his horror series which includes an elf who steals nightmares to make them become reality. After the seven winners check in to the Dark House—an exact-replica of the house shown in the film—things start getting weird. Cell service is nowhere to be found. Lights continue to flicker on and off. Warnings are drawn on walls where you least expect it. Not to mention, someone is already missing. The winners will soon realize this weekend isn’t about meeting a famous director. It is more about surviving the weekend than anything else.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is back! Her writing is always superb, no matter what genre she is tackling. Fans of her work will be sure to love this new series. Stolarz works her writing magic to bring you a story which will leave you on the edge of your seat. 

The horror genre is constantly reusing old scare tactics. When you read a horror book or watch a horror film, a person will most likely disappear, the lights will flicker on and off, the phones will be dead, someone will die, and the list goes on. These horror clichés work. Even though Stolarz used some of these clichés, that does not mean they were any less effective. Welcome to the Dark House is filled with scares, so much so you may have nightmares.

The plot itself was good. With the enormous amount of characters to remember, it was difficult to stay on one plot line however. The story didn’t pick up until the halfway point, at least. The Dark House served as a backdrop to some of the smaller scares which occurred earlier in the novel. The plot becomes juicier when the characters are inside the theme park of their own nightmares.

 movie film horror the conjuring lili taylor GIF

This cast of characters is one of the most wackiest I have ever come across. I have read lots of books but never once before come across a character like Garth Vader (you heard that right). 

There are six main characters, and Stolarz changes perspective every chapter. Yes, changing perspective with a cast of six characters makes for some confusing scenes. While reading, I noted how to differentiate each character through which nightmare they had or what their family was like. The changing perspective came as to no surprise as Stolarz has done so in almost every novel she has written. Bleed is another novel of hers which she changes perspective among a large cast of characters. It is an interesting storytelling technique which, at times, forces the readers to flip back to follow which character is which.

Welcome to the Dark House is the first in a series which will have readers begging for more. Stolarz definitely knows how to weave a fantastic cliff-hanger. Despite a bit confusion at the characters’ perspectives, readers will, not only, feel the need to marathon all her other books (starting with Project 17, which is also a horror novel) but also immediately need to pick up the sequel, Return to the Dark House. Welcome to the Dark House is filled with thrills and chills of all kinds which will keep you up at night.

Welcome to the Dark House (7/22/14): 3 stars
Return to the Dark House (7/21/15): TBD

Top Ten Tuesday

10 Books That Give Me Autumn Vibes

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Autumn is my favorite time of the year. Pumpkin spice lattes, check. Warm sweaters, check. Leaves changing colors, check. Good book that's perfect for this season? Are you reading the books that give you major fall vibes?

Never fear! I can help you find some amazing books that absolutely match with the season. Whether the book cover itself reminds me of autumn or the book has some creepy themes, these books are definitely going to get you in the mood for fall. I tried to fill my fall TBR full of books that fit great into the season but here's some more to feast your eyes on. Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is: Ten Books With Fall Themes and Covers.

Velveteen by Daniel Marks | The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff | Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin | Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler | Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski | Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr | These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

What book reminds you of autumn?

kickin' it

Kickin' It: September 2017

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Kickin’ It is a feature at The Bucket List where I round-up the whole month in one post, bringing you reviews you may have missed, other awesome bookish things, and even what I’m currently obsessed with in other media besides books. September was a whirlwind of happenings. First, I am mildly surprised at myself for partially stepping outside of my reading slump and actually reading a few books this month. I still only read 5 books but that's a bit better than August's three books. Second, it was my birthday this month! I went to Disney World to celebrate and it was so much fun! Here's September's wrap-up:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: I received this book in the Wanderlust box from OwlCrate and I am so glad I did. This book was absolutely everything I expected it to be and more. There's daring adventure, pirates, romance and more. The characters are so true-to-life and the protagonist is fantastically sarcastic. I love it all. I cannot wait for the sequel!

Ten by Gretchen McNeil (3 stars): I tried something a little different with this review. Instead of a normal review, it's an analysis of how similar And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is to Ten. I highly recommend skipping this one and reading Agatha Christie's classic.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman (3 stars): Blackhearts was a promising start to what definitely could be an awesome series of how Blackbeard becomes the pirate we know today.

Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman (3 stars): Nicole Castroman is a great storyteller and definitely raised the bar with this sequel. Blacksouls is sure to keep you on your toes with nonstop action and fantastic characters.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (10/10/17): It's a new John Green book. Need I say more?

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand (10/24/17): I will probably wait to read this one closer to Christmas. However, when I heard Cytnhia Hand was releasing a new book, I couldn't have been more excited! The premise sounds awesome. It's a sort of what-if scenario inspired by a timeless Christmas classic.

Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Ann DiRisio (10/17/17): I recently discovered Brooding YA Hero on Twitter and I cannot believe how behind I am in this feed. It is absolutely fantastic. I am not sure how this character will translate to a YA book but I will be reading to certainly find out.

September was such a busy month that I really didn't watch that many movies. However, I did rewatch Avatar in anticipation of visiting Disney World's Animal Kingdom. The movie isn't my favorite but it is entertaining and fun. Also, I was able to see Kingsman: The Golden Circle which was as epic as I knew it was going to be. Here's the trailer:


How was your September? Read any awesome books this month? What movies did you watch?

book tag

The Disney Book Tag

Monday, September 25, 2017

By this time next week, I will be having a blast on vacation. My mom surprised me with a trip to Disney for my birthday. I cannot wait! I have just amount a time to do a quick post and pack and soon I’ll be off, living like a Disney princess for the week. “At last I see the light, and it’s like the sky is new.” Don’t mind me while I break out into Disney songs.

To celebrate my upcoming trip, I decided to do the Disney Book Tag. The Disney Book Tag was created by Kat from Katytastic on Youtube but I originally saw it done over at Rachaelrexds by Rachael. So let’s get right into some Disney magic:

The Little Mermaid - a character who is out of their element (a fish out of water)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Fangirl is incredibly relatable. It gives you the sense of what college is like. At least what college was like for me. Cath, the protagonist, does seem like a fish out of water. She always wanted to be in her room, writing her fanfic. College, the social aspect of it, didn’t fit her as well as her twin sister was drawn to it. As freshmen, students work to find where they fit in and until they do, it does seem like we are all swimming against the current.

Cinderella - a character who goes through a major transformation 

 disney magic dress cinderella getting ready GIF

Recreated by Colleen Houck: If you have been reading this blog, you would probably already know that I was disappointed in this sequel. I adored Reawakened which is about an Egyptian Prince who wakes in the History Museum in New York when the world is threatened by darkness. The world building was fantastic and the story was so good! Then the sequel happened and I wasn’t crazy about the transformation that one of the characters undertook. The book didn’t go in a direction that I expected.

Snow White - a book with an eclectic cast of characters

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: My gang of awesome characters must go to the Dregs. Bardugo gives us such a diverse cast of people, all with specific talents. Believe me, by the end of the first book, you will love them all.

Sleeping Beauty - a book that put you to sleep

 disney crying aurora sleeping beauty maleficent GIF

Carrie Pilby by Caren Lissner: I don’t know what it was about this book but it just dragged on for me. I kept breaking between chapters because I couldn’t get through it. I don’t know if it was the characters or the overall pacing of the book, but Carrie Pilby was not for me.

The Lion King - a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood

And I Darken by Kiersten White: This book is dark. And I’m not talking Hunger Games dark which is sometimes filled with some laughter and romance. I’m talking: if you turned off all the lights dark. And I Darken is so intense and dark that the real question here is, what non-traumatic thing happened to these characters in childhood? That would be the more difficult question.

Beauty and the Beast - a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful

Disney disney books beauty and the beast beast GIF

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This book is truly a monster. I have this flimsy paperback edition which is the perfect size to me. However, the edition includes Bible-thin pages, the smallest font you have ever seen, and long chapters. Yes, I was intimidated to read this. It took me two months to finish which is very long for me but I loved the book. Outlander is a time traveling adventure like no other.

Aladdin - a character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse

A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: I just finished this book last week and let me tell you, it is definitely going on my favorites shelf. Monty wants nothing more than to go on his Tour with his best friend, being able to drink and go to parties. As the plot progresses, he gets his wish but not in the way he expected. The book is an adventure with lots of heart.

Mulan - a character who pretends to be someone they’re not

 mulan GIF

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: I don’t want to give too much away with this one. The Winner’s Curse is filled with twists and turns, disguises and kidnappings. I absolutely adore this series.

Toy Story - a book with characters you wish would come to life

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare: Can we have the whole Shadowhunter world come to life? I could get coffee with Clary. Simon and I would go listen to Eric’s awful poetry. Magnus would always throw the best parties. Jace and Will and all the shadowhunters—yes, please bring them all to life.

Disney Descendants - your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman: I really wanted to say Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows duology but I’ve already used the book once so AIDAN gets the award for best villain. Who doesn’t love computers with a death wish?

I tag you! What's your favorite Disney movie? What book put you to sleep recently? Who's your favorite villain?